Masaya Yamaguchi is one of Japan’s most acclaimed mystery writers, with a varied career that has encompassed novels, short stories, and literary analysis, as well as writing for television, video games, and animation.
While his style is experimental and consciously deviates from the existing mystery framework, Yamaguchi’s works are written as true Golden Age detective stories based on the principles of “whodunit,” “howdunit,” and “whydunit.” His novels are characterized by the usage of specialized knowledge of various unusual fields and professions, which then establish unique situations wherein the plots can unfold. These complex settings are then paired with his simple, accessible style of writing. Yamaguchi has written in a wide variety of genres, in addition to his mainstay of Golden Age detective stories. These include anti-mystery suspense thrillers, crime stories, hard-boiled, adventure stories, horror, science fiction, juvenile, black humor, parodies, riddle stories, rakugo (a kind of traditional Japanese storytelling), and many more. He is also a collector of mystery-related content and artifacts, including old books, movies, board and video games, stamps, records, and figures, and has written books on these subjects. Yamaguchi’s works are often used as supplementary materials for university lectures. Death of the Living Dead was adopted by Ritsumeikan University’s Department of Philosophy, and the Mother Goose-themed Kidd Pistols Series was adopted by the Department of English at the University of Tokyo.